Friday, May 17, 2019

Hitting the Heights

Lima is at sea level; Cusco, the ancient Incan capital, is at 3300 m so the threat of altitude sickness is to be taken seriously. First, we have Diamox which is supposed to lessen the effects; drinking lots of water is advised; also don’t eat meat or raw fruits/vegetables as your system has to work harder to digest those. Within a few hours of arriving at Cusco, a short walk up a slight incline left me breathless, a tightness in my upper chest, and my heart racing. Altitude sickness can strike anyone no matter their fitness level so its best to be cautious and go slow. 

Flying into Cusco you could see these extensive networks of switchbacks below which look quite intriguing. 



Cusco has about 300,000 people and is anchored by several large squares with cathedrals. A lot of the churches and major buildings are light brown and combine different architectural styles. 

After our first night in Cusco we had a full day of touring the area. First stop was the towering white Jesus where we had a great view over the city.




Then on to a weaving cooperative that is sponsored by GAdventures (Planeterra). Here the women demonstrated how they clean and spin the alpaca and llama wool. From natural items such as flowers, leaves, lemon, salt they can combine items to get a huge array of colourful woollens. 











The alpacas also allowed us to feed them. 



Next stop was the Sacred Valley of the Incas. A beautiful fertile area. 



 Then on to a pottery making shop where we were shown the steps from raw clay to finished chess pieces (and other stuff).



Lunch was at another GAdventures Project where we were served a wide array of local products. Did you know Peru has 3500 varieties of potatoes! My kind of place. 


Corn harvest has ended and a lot of corn was set out to dry. The ears of corn have giant pieces and they are sold on the street for a snack. 




Somewhere along the way I managed to get my photo with the baby alpaca and a couple of locals. 


Finally we ended up at Ollantaytambo - where we will spend the night before heading back to Cusco for a few days. There are a lot of vendors everywhere selling their colourful wares and Ross and I restricted ourself to a couple of toques at the weaving coop.  My selfie skills still need some work.


4 comments:

Jennifer said...

Lynn - I love your pictures. I am taking notes for our future trip to South America! Thanks!

redpump said...

Get some coca leaves to,chew. Helps with the altitude ...

Susan Harnett said...

Brought back many happy memories.....
Enjoy
Sue

Anne said...

Looks like you are having a great trip. As always I enjoy reading your posts and look forward to following the rest of the adventure. Hi to Dianne.

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